Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Facts
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is the fifth iteration in the Wave Universe line. This version of the shoe serves up an array of updates from the shoe’s upper to the outsole. It’s clear that Mizuno’s goal with the Wave Universe 5 was to bring down the weight of the shoe even further. The shoe is as light as can be, delivers a fast ride, and still manages to offer protection underfoot. The road racing flat features a sock-like upper and is the most minimal version of the shoe in the Wave Universe line. The shoe will please those looking for a lightweight racing shoe as well as those looking for a very light barefoot-style shoe. Although some reviewers had issues with durability, the Wave Universe 5 still manages to deliver great value.
The outsole of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is made of a proprietary material dubbed "G3". The outsole features dotted lugs that provide excellent traction on pavement
. Some runners even noted that they felt comfortable doing some light trail running
in the Wave Universe 5. The shoe's outsole also features a deep groove in the center. The groove is meant to provide added flexibility for the wearer. In this version of the Wave Universe, the outsole is slightly thinner. The shoe feels much more like a barefoot-style running shoe than ever before.
The very flexible midsole of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 still manages to provide some shock absorption for the wearer, despite being such a minimal
shoe. The midsole material is wave-like and is intended to provide greater energy return. The midsole cushion is made of U4ic material which is a change from previous editions of the shoe. This type of cushioning is lighter so helps to reduce the weight of the shoe. The Wave Universe 5 also features midsole grooves, known as SmoothRide technology. These are meant to provide additional flexibility. The midsole cushioning
is firm and many runners were happy with the shoe's energy return. While the cushioning is intended to offer the same protection underfoot as previous versions, quite a few runners found the Wave Universe 5 to be less padded underfoot. The shoe definitely offers minimal cushioning and some runners actually found the Wave Universe 5 lacked energy return because of a lack of cushion.
The seamless AirMesh upper of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is very breathable. The thin upper is really only meant to hold the shoe on the wearer's foot, offering very little in terms of structure. The intent is clearly to provide the most minimal fit and feel possible. The shoe fits very much like a sock and has a sock-liner that is not removable. In this version of the Wave Universe, some material from the interior of the shoe has been done away with and has been replaced with softer padding. The shoe has a tiny bit of padding around the heel collar and an unpadded tongue. The lacing
system includes thin flat laces. This fifth version of the shoe features a more flexible upper.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a very lightweight shoe. In this version of the shoe, the men's version has been shaved down to under 3 ounces, with a weight of 2.8 ounces. The women's version clock in at 2.2 ounces. The shoe is definitely barely there and runners who were looking for a fast racing flat
were pleased with the Wave Universe 5's performance. Weight has been shaved off from the midsole and outsole. The midsole cushioning has been changed to a new U4ic cushion which is lighter than previously used materials. In addition, the lower heel to toe drop has reduced the weight even further.
The Mizuno Wave 5 is extremely breathable. The shoe features an AirMesh upper that ventilated the wearer's foot very well. The upper is also very thin, so it's less likely for runners to feel hot when wearing the shoe. Mizuno also added drainage holes to the Wave Universe 5 helping to alleviate previous issues with water getting logged in the shoe. The roomy fit also helps to make the Wave Universe 5 well-ventilated. Runners found the toe
box allowed for natural toe splay and their forefoot did not feel squished.
The majority of runners highly praised the comfort of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5. They felt that the shoe was extremely comfortable. The thin, stretchy upper fits well around the foot without being restrictive. Quite a few runners also liked the minimal padding underfoot, adding that they were surprised by the cushion considering the lightness of the Wave Universe 5.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5's aesthetic leaves something to be desired. Many runners were less than thrilled with the shoe's design. The style of the Wave Universe 5 is certainly quite unique. Some found the look very unappealing and non-cohesive. The shoe is definitely not for the faint of heart, in style and in construction. It's not a shoe you'd wear outside of running. It's certainly different, but for some that will make the shoe all the more special.
This is where the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 performs less than adequately, but it's not much a surprise considering the minimal construction of the shoe. The thin outsole of the shoe isn't likely to last as long as other shoes, especially for heavy heel-strikers
. Quite a few reviewers commented that the outsole was not at all durable. Even after a few miles, the sole showed significant wear. Some runners also had issues with the upper ripping. The Wave Universe 5 is definitely best kept for race day
. It just won't hold up as a daily training shoe.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 offers a surprising amount of protection underfoot considering its minimal design. The G3 outsole provides adequate protection from debris underfoot while still providing great ground feel. The shoe's upper is too thin to give the wearer much protection from the elements. Though, most runners were pleased with the addition of drainage holes to increase comfort. The majority of runners found the Wave Universe 5 offered a fast
ride with a solid base. Even with its minimalist construction, runners felt there was enough cushion in the shoe to get them through their miles.
There's some mixed reaction to the Mizuno Wave Universe 5's responsiveness. The wave construction of the midsole is intended to provide good energy return. Many runners applauded the shoe's excellent energy return. They liked the new midsole material and while many found it stiff, they still enjoyed a nice rebound with each footfall. Other runners were not so pleased with the shoe's feedback. They found the ground feel good but were unhappy with poor energy feedback.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a minimalist racing flat, it's not really meant to offer much in the way of support. The neutral flat has a stretchy thin upper that does little else than keep the shoe attached to the wearer's foot. Runners who are looking for support
will want to look elsewhere. The racing flat is meant to do just that: race
. The Mizuno Wave 5 is not for runners who have issues with overpronation. The almost barefoot-like shoe offers no arch support and while the fit is sock-like, runners won't feel locked down with such a thin, unstructured upper.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is intended to be used on the roads and for racing. It does quite well when used on pavement and some runners also found the shoe could handle some light trail running. There's sure to be less protection from debris and obstacles for trail running, so it's best to stick to well-groomed trails in the Wave Universe 5.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is priced at a midrange price point. For some, the price may seem high for such a minimalistic shoe. Considering the shoe's durability issues and its paired down nature, it's likely that most everyday runners won't be spending money on this kind of racing flat. And that's the point, the Wave Universe 5 is a racing flat, pure and simple. It's also one of the lightest
available. This makes it unique and adds value to the shoe. If you're looking for a very light shoe for race day, there are very few other options. Considering the Wave Universe 5 performs as intended, the pricing seems very fair.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 has a G3 outsole which provides great grip on pavement and various other surfaces. Runners will feel grounded running in the shoe. The thinner outsole does wear out rather quickly so there may be some issues with traction after some use, but the shoe still manages to perform quite well in terms of traction. The shoe is meant to be used for racing and even when running fast it can offer traction without feeling too grippy.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a star when it comes to flexibility. The outsole features deep midfoot grooves to help enhance pliability and help with the natural motion
of the wearer's foot. The Wave Universe 5 also features SmoothRide technology which consists of midsole grooves that also enhance the shoe's flexibility. In addition, the very thin upper is made of comfortable, stretchy material that works to conform to the wearer's foot.
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a neutral
racing flat, so there's not much in terms of stability here. The shoe has a very thin, stretchy upper to help enhance comfort and fit but it' unstructured and not meant to provide a locked-down feel. Some runners did comment that they would have enjoyed a bit of support from the upper, but it wasn't a deal breaker. The shoe's outsole does provide some stability, though. The grippy G3 outsole provides traction on a variety of different surfaces and helps to keep runners moving forward. Runners were happily surprised by the shoe's great grip
. They felt it helped them focus on the run ahead of them and that they could avoid slipping. This made them feel stable in an otherwise quite unstable shoe.
The heel to toe drop of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is about 2mm. It's a very minimal drop and runner not used to such a small drop will want to take caution. Transition to a near zero-drop
shoe may take some time. Jumping into this racing flat without prior conditioning may put extra stress on the body, especially the calves. The lowering of the heel to toe drop helped to shave off some weight and get the Wave Universe 5 under 3 ounces.
- Introduction of new U4ic midsole material
- Introduction of gender specific sizes
- G3 outsole provides excellent grip
- Wave construction in midsole provides flexibility and energy return
- SmoothRide Technology enhances flexibility
- AirMesh upper
The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 has received rave reviews from runners seeking a lightweight racing flat. The majority of wearers found the shoe light, comfortable, and blazing fast. While the style and design of the shoe has had some runners turning up their noses, it's no doubt that the bevy of changes made to this version of the shoe has greatly improved it. The changes ensure that the shoe is specifically constructed for racing, and racing fast. The barely there Wave Universe 5 delivers on what it promises. It offers a fast and comfortable ride. The shoe is certainly not for anyone. Those seeking more support should look elsewhere. This is not a daily trainer but rather a race specific shoe. This new version of the Wave Universe is more minimal, lighter, flexible, and more comfortable than ever. This iteration even introduces gender specific sizing so that women runners can now feel just as fast in the Wave 5 on race day.